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Vitamin E intake improves NASH

A daily dose of a specific form of vitamin E can improve nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a chronic liver disease that is linked to weight gain and obesity and can lead to cirrhosis.

Vitamin E intake improves NASH

A daily dose of a specific form of vitamin E can improve nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a liver disease.

NASH is a chronic liver disease that is linked to weight gain and obesity and can lead to cirrhosis or scarring, liver cancer and even death. NASH can occur in children, the elderly, normal-weight, and non-diabetic persons too. The disease is caused by abnormal metabolism of fats, which increases levels of oxidants, compounds that transfer oxygen to the liver.

To see if Vitamin E helps improving NASH, researchers identified 247 adults with NASH and without diabetes and divided them into three groups. Participants aged 18 years and older were provided with either 30 milligrams of pioglitazone daily, 800 international units of a form of vitamin E (RRR-alpha-tocopherol) daily, or placebo for 96 weeks. The primary outcome was an improvement in histologic features of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.  

After 96 weeks of treatment, vitamin E improved all features of NASH except the degree of cirrhosis in the liver. Forty-three percent of participants treated with vitamin E met the primary endpoint of the trial compared to only 19 percent of those who received a placebo. The difference in the rate of improvement with pioglitazone as compared with placebo was not significant (34% and 19%, respectively).

Pioglitazone improved liver inflammation and retention of lipids in 34 percent of individuals who received it but it also led to an undesirable weight gain of 10 pounds over the 96-week trial. There was an early improvement in liver enzyme tests among participants receiving either Pioglitazone or vitamin E.

It was concluded that Vitamin E was superior to placebo for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in adults without diabetes.
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